Well.....where to start with this little overview of the deliciously kitsch Australian camp classic 'Sons & Daughters'? Hmm... my interest in the show started when the UK's broadcaster 'Five' picked up the show and decided to repeat it on daytime afternoons, moving it to weekend early mornings after a few months. I'd seen the show before on ITV, but I was too young then to appreciate how it was kitsch, crap TV at it's best.
I suppose the first thing is to have a little look at some of the characters (*there may be spoilers ahead*). The show revolved around two families, one wealthy in Sydney (the Hamiltons) and one working class in Melbourne (the Palmers) and the various people they were acquainted with over the course of the show's run. The two families were initially connected by Gordon Hamilton's first(?) wife - Patricia, having an affair with David Palmer 20 years ago that resulted in the birth of twins... each took one child and raised them in their own families. After a year or so of plodding along with standard soap opera plots of the time, the show suddenly decided to turn into a copy of the American 'supersoaps' which were popular at the time. Suddenly it focused more on the power struggles with the Hamilton family and their business partners over 'The Company' (it was never actually revealed what business 'The Company' was in).
Then in 1984, the show's most popular character, Patricia Hamilton aka Pat the Rat(Rowena Wallace) decided to leave, after divorcing Gordon. Rather than allow this to damage the show, the producers decided to replace Rowena Wallace with two characters, Belinda Giblin as Alison Carr and soap sex siren Abigail as Caroline Morrell (another partner in 'The Company') - and got round this by letting the audience know that Belinda's character, Alison Carr, was in fact Pat the Rat - who'd been off to South America for some extensive cosmetic surgery. By the time she arrived back, Gordon had remarried (and not for the last time, either) to Barbara Armstrong. It was at this point the show kicked into some uber-inspired and totally unbelievable lunacy. Alison let her friend, socialite Charlie Bartlett know who she really was, and moved in with her, and proceeded to get her hands on 50% of 'The Company' and onto Gordon Hamilton again.
Despite Gordon being one of the least charismatic men you're ever likely to lay eyes on (I think he was played that way intentionally) he ended up getting married (AGAIN!) to Beryl Palmer - the then ex-wife of his first wife's lover. Again, lunacy reigned in the 'Sons and Daughters' camp, with Alison Carr's actions getting ever more bitchy and outrageous. But the show was beginning to flag under the weight of it's own preposterousness, so the producers decided again to ramp up the level of unbelievability, by bringing Rowena Wallace back as her former character's long-lost twin sister. Unfortunately the writing was on the wall for the show by 1986, and in 1987, it was cancelled.
There were other background characters, occasionally thrust into limelight every now and then... the most notable of those being Fiona Thompson, a former madame connected to both the Hamilton's and the Palmers, and always crusading for some good cause or other.
The best things about the show were the totally preposterous story lines, the occasionally appalling acting, and the wonky production values (brown and grey seemed to be very popular interior colour choices in Australia in the early 80's) - for example, the Hamilton's lived in what appeared to be a large mansion, but all we ever saw of it was the fairly small hallway and living room.... again decorated in lovely shades of grey and brown.
We've become used to production values in Australian and American soaps lagging badly behind their UK counterparts - but 'Sons and Daughters' really did take the cake.. they had one apartment set, and any character who lived in an apartment, lived in that set, suitably repainted. I dare say the production values were below even ITV's 'Crossroads'.. and that was a show that took some beating for sheer shoddiness of production.